Alabama expanding education to younger students with P-3
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — You maybe familiar with the state’s pre-kindergarten program, but there’s now an extension of that called the Alabama Pre-K– 3rd Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning, or P-3, that builds upon student success and narrows the achievement gap by expanding access to Alabama’s high quality Pre-K model.
The classrooms may look like normal kindergarten classrooms, but it’s not a traditional curriculum. The program is run through Alabama’s Department of Early Childhood Education.
Teachers like Krista Moore from Wetumpka Elementary School said it allows students to have more input in their learning.
“It really draws on their strengths,” Moore said.
Wetumpka Elementary School has about 10 P-3 classes, with each class having about 19 students. In Moore’s classroom, the students were participating in what they call “centers.” They are like stations, where each student is working on a different task, but it’s still educational based.
“Their also working together with their peers to problem solve,” Moore said.
Many of the tasks the students were working on included STEM, problem solving and painting the alphabet.
“We’re still teaching standards based instruction, it is just the way of teaching is a little bit different. you don’t necessarily see worksheets on the desk,” said Bonnie Sullivan, principal at Wetumpka Elementary School.
Wetumpka Elementary has had their program for about three years and they’re currently considering a model program. Sullivan said that since having the P-3 Approach to Learning grant, the students have become better problem solvers and have strengthened their socialization skills, such as solving conflicts which this helps with strengthening their mental health.
“We have earned an 87 ‘B’ on our [state report card]. We have had steady growth, from three to four years ago,” Sullivan said.
Jeana Ross, secretary of Alabama’s Department of Early Childhood Education, said that since 2017, 133 P-3 programs have been funded through grants.
“This is just to create models around to the state so that people can visit and see a different approach to learning a different approach to assessment,” Ross said.
Ross hopes to expand the program to different parts of the state in the next few years.